Just short of Lake Travis and in some of the most scenic Austin Hill Country is an exclusive gated golf community that is home to one of the best golf courses in Austin – the Hills Country Club which has two courses, the Hills Signature Course and Flintrock Falls. The Hills course was the first Austin golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Flintrock Falls was designed by both Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II. Both courses are fantastic and in fact, the Dallas Morning News named the Hill Country Club in it's 2012 "Top 100 Golf Courses in Texas" – both courses also made Texas Outside's Top 25 Private Texas Golf Course list. Here is a link to our review of Flintrock Falls.
The Hills Signature Course has all of the key ingredients that we look for in a golf course. It's:
very scenic with lots of trees, rolling hills, huge beautiful homes, lush conditions, creeks, ponds, and cascading waterfalls
demanding and puts a premium on accuracy off the tee box and as well as the approach shot – from the tips, the slope and rating are 74.7 and 147 tips
in near perfect condition with lush fairways, excellent bunkers, and great greens
got lots of variety with the majority of the holes unique and interesting
got some very fun holes that you'll never get tired of playing
clubhouse, practice facilities, service, and amenities are first class
The front nine of the Hills Signature course seems like a warm up for back nine. The first few holes seem pretty easy and straightforward and the last four are excellent. #6 is a 455 downhill dog right par 5 with a creek cutting across the fairway about 100 yards out in front of green with 3 tiers and a couple bunkers guarding it. #7 is as scenic (a cascading waterfall over ferns and rocks in front of the green) as it is demanding – 184 yard par 3 that's all carry with little room for error. The #1 handicap 410 yard par 4 #8 is fantastic – a slight dog leg left along a narrow fairway and across a creek to a well guarded green. And #9 is a fun 543 yard par 5.
As good as the front is, the back is even better. It's tighter and tougher demanding accuracy on every shot, it's fun and scenic with cascading waterfalls, and every hole is unique and different. On this nine you'll encounter tight twisting fairways, uphill and downhill shots, risk reward opportunities, pull out the big dog and go for the green shots, challenging raised and guarded greens, some steep and deep bunkers, dog legs, and more.
When we played the Hills Signature Course, the fairways were in near perfect condition – lush and plush and few divots. The roughs varied from thin and playable to thick and tough. The tree lined fairways range from ample landing zones to tight and narrow with trouble left, right, and long if you overshoot it.
The greens range in size and shape but most are about average size and all are well guarded with bunkers front, left, right, and hidden off the back. Some raised preventing a bump and run. They were soft and held the ball well, ran true, and at a good speed. They ranged from mild to little slope and undulation and some had one to three tiers. The Hills Signature Course greens seemed easy to read but something caused us to have quite a few three putts!
The bunkers at the Hills course were also perfect – thick, soft, fluffy sand. But practice you sand shots before you head out because they are big, numerous, and some are steep and deep.
Bottom line – near perfect conditions, scenic, fair but very demanding holes, fun and unique holes.